All posts filed under: interventions

Redefine Success and Create a Happier Life

When Arianna Huffington collapsed from exhaustion in 2007, she was forced to take a long hard look at her life and redefine what success meant to her. With her health so visibly deteriorating, the classic notions of success as money and power, were irrelevant. If she wasn’t alive, both would cease to matter. In her book THRIVE, we are introduced to a third metric of success. A metric that consists of four equal pillars. The pillars represent Wellbeing, Wisdom, Wonder and Giving and they make up the four chapters of her excellent book. An impassioned read, Arianna encourages us to look within ourselves and build a more meaningful and fulfilling life, aligned with our values. Touching on the importance of sleep and meditation to nourish our minds and bodies. We are also introduced to the power of giving back to our local communities and the joys of delighting in wonder. Something we rarely give ourselves the time to do. “Disconnecting from our technology to reconnect with ourselves is absolutely essential for wisdom.” Arianna Huffington Each page is filled with wisdom and insight, and I would …

10 Benefits of Meditation

Evidence suggests meditation has been around since 1500 BCE, making it over 3500 years old. Yet the art of meditation only spread to Western society thousands of years later, and has only really gained household popularity in the last decade. What is about this ancient art form that’s survived the test of time and why do so many religions and gurus swear by its healing properties? We’ve chosen our top 10 benefits – It boosts Positive Emotions
 Powerful contemplative meditations like loving-kindness act as triggers for positive emotions. When we recall and allow ourselves to cultivate loving feelings, not only does it boost our mood, but we can more easily access those feelings after the mood has passed. Positive effect on our Physical Health Meditating encourages us to relax and therefore helps to reduce our stress level and boosts our immunity. It has also been proven to boost our immunity. Helps fight Depression Results now show that MBCT (Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy) is just as effective as anti-depressants in fighting mental illness. This is revolutionary for those who are …

6 Steps to Reconnect

Connection with other people is fundamental to our happiness and wellbeing. Yet with the rise of digital technology and online social networking sites, you would think the opposite was true. The lack of face-to-face connection is having devastating effects on society, with social isolation and the loneliness epidemic reaching all time highs. On par with early death through cause of smoking and obesity. We can certainly reverse this negative impact and through very simple means increase our connectivity levels. Here are a few simple steps to get you started – CALL AN OLD FRIEND It’s automatic to text a friend or write a quick email between meetings at work, but there’s nothing quite like hearing someones voice when you actually take the time to pick up the phone and call them PAY SOMEONE A COMPLIMENT A stranger on the street, your boss or the local chemist. Whoever your path might cross with, make a point to give at least one compliment each and every day. You’ll be amazed at the positive impact a little kindness and small  connection (even with a complete …

4 ways to conquer negative thought

We all experience negative thoughts – be they fleeting or circling patterns of misery, they are almost always uninvited and can affect everything from our close relationships to work life, depleting energy stores and exhausting our productivity. The same destructive neural pathways are visited, patterns emerge and habits are formed. Often there appears to be no escape. We will accept the wave of negativity and some even learn to relish in it, feeling increasingly sorry for themselves and becoming more and more isolated from reality. The good news is, with a little effort and discipline we can learn to break these patterns. Thoughts are just thoughts, they are not fact or reality. We have thousands upon thousands of them every day – random, creative, bizarre thoughts and just because we have them, doesn’t make them an accurate reflection of the way things are.   Choose Sunny Whatever the weather forecast for your inner world, unlike the outer world, we do have control over our minds. Our thoughts and moods can be influenced and we can …

Empower your strengths and capitalise on happiness

Research proves that people who know their character strengths live happier, more satisfied lives because knowing ourselves – what we’re good at, what energises and motivates us, and what our life values are – gives us the ability to lead more engaging and meaningful lives, true to our individual personalities. Strengths come in all forms and the great news is, we all have them! Whether it’s persistence, humour, gratitude, drive, commitment, loyalty, love or courage – if you’ve never thought about what your strengths are and how you can adapt your life to utilise them in a more powerful and effective way, now is the time. The VIA survey is a popular and free tool to help assess your best strengths, it can be found here – http://www.viacharacter.org/survey/account/register And if you still need persuading, here are five ways knowing our character strengths can help our personal development and emotional intelligence – An increased self-awareness allows us to build stronger, more effective relationships Acceptance of who we are improves our self esteem Allow us to set more tailored and attainable goals …

9 tips to help manage your time online

Generation Y (also known as the millennials) are estimated to pick up their phones 150 times a day, checking emails, whatsapp, social media and logging into a million and one different user apps from Tinder, to Clue, Wunderlist to Framatic. No wonder this highly distracting online world can leave us feeling lost and overwhelmed, inadequate and insecure. For these very reasons, it’s more important than ever before to take control of our digital dependency and be more selective with the time we spend online. Streamline the beneficial stuff and start to quit the useless distractions. Here are nine easy tips to help you become more mindful and take a healthier approach to your online habits – Use a blocking tool such as Anti-Social or StayFocusd to improve your productivity by locking your computer away from social media sites for a certain amount of time, time of day or day of the week. You’ll be amazed at how much more you get done when you can focus without distraction. Get into the habit of putting your phone down at 9pm and not checking it again until …

How do you find your flow?

A moment in your life when time stands still, oblivious to the world around you, so fully focused on what you’re doing, concentrating so hard, time disappears completely. Psychologists call these fully absorbent times, flow states or a ‘heightened state of consciousness’. Perhaps you find flow doing a crossword, playing a competitive sport or writing and giving a powerful speech (like the legendary Martin Luther King, Jr – featured above). There are many activities in which flow can be found, but it can only happen under very strict conditions – at times when our skills are tested, but our ability is just about sufficient to meet the challenge. Stretching us to our maximum limit. If the challenge is too easy, we become bored and lose interest, too hard and we become anxious and want to give up. So flow cannot be achieved. Achieving flow is incredibly important to achieving inner happiness, it leaves us feeling worthy, satisfied and encourages personal growth. Testing our limits and fulfilling our  potential. Unfortunately, the amount of time we spend surfing the internet, checking social media sites and watching catch-up TV …

25 reasons it’s better to give than receive

During this over-indulgent, opulent time of year it’s important we take stock and remind ourselves that Christmas isn’t all about the parties and presents, but the season of good will and peace to all men! So if you were ever in doubt, the Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar is here to prove that giving is far more satisfying than receiving. Subscribe to their mailing list and receive 25 daily acts of kindness sent straight to your inbox. A different challenge is set each day – phone an old friend, leave a kind note, give to the needy – in the hope that we can re-educate ourselves and really feel the positive difference going out of our way to be more giving can make. Sign up now and see how many random acts of kindness you can carry out this Christmas. Sign up here.

Action for Happiness

You may have seen the latest ITV report ‘Tonight: Is Britain Happy?‘ an up-to-date exploration on the science of happiness, which showed (for those that were in any doubt) that improved wellbeing really does make a difference to our happiness levels. An organisation that have been pioneering the art of happiness since 2010 is Action for Happiness. Action for Happiness is ‘a movement of people committed to building a happier society. We want to see a fundamentally different way of life where people care less about what they can get for themselves and more about the happiness of others.’ They provide practical ideas (see their collection of posters below) to enable people to take action in different areas of their lives – at home, at work or in the community. Encouraging members to form local groups and take action together. Our genes influence around 50% of the variation in our personal happiness and our circumstances (like income and environment) about 10%. Which means as much as 40% is accounted for by our daily activities and the conscious choices we make. So our actions really do …

Positive Psychology

This book is an easy to follow introduction to Positive Psychology for anyone with an interest in mindfulness or searching for authentic happiness. Positive Psychology is the most recent branch of psychology, founded by Martin Seligman. It is summarised in his own words as the ‘scientific study of optimal human functioning, it aims to discover and promote the factors that allow individuals and communities to thrive.’ (Seligman & Csikszentmilhalyi, 2000). In this book you will find the results of scientific studies carried out to help us understand the key factors in creating and maintaining a happy life. Broken down into 15 easily digestible chapters including Optimism and Hope, Living in Flow, Happiness and Subjective Wellbeing, Time in Our Lives, Love and Positive Psychology interventions, it provides a brilliant overview of optimal human functioning along with simple tools and tips on how to apply it to your own life. A highly recommended read. Positive Psychology in a Nutshell: The Science of Happiness by Ilona Boniwell Available at all good book shops or via Amazon.